Doing great work is about laying the groundwork, sensing when the moment arrives, and knowing how to seize it.
Here are a few ways to know when the time is right to go big and bold.
1. Client Needs to Do Something Huge
Sometimes in means they're under unprecedented market pressure. Sometimes it's a changing of the guard within the organization. Either way, the landscape within the client's corporate structure has to be ripe for a turnaround.
2. The Brief is Clear and Simple.
There needs to be complete alignment on the single idea. Needless to say, there needs to be a clear single idea. Even if the client is complicated, even if their business challenge involves many variables, the objective and the strategy at hand needs to have laser-like focus.
We all wish we had more time. But here's the deal: You don't need all the time in the world. You just need two weeks between kick off and Round 1 presentation. After that, things can move as quickly as they have to. You just need to back-load the pain and front-load the whitespace. Shortening the time-frame on the backend also prevents overthinking every aspect of execution, while extending time on the front-end allows you to involve the client in a collaborative ideation process.
So when you're kicking something off and itching to do something great, ask yourself: Is the client ready, is the brief clear, and is there two weeks in the schedule? If not, get it done and move on, hoping for the stars to align next time. If so, let's do this.
The 50/40/10 Rule.
A short (and completely arbitrary rule of thumb): about half of the creative work you develop every year should be be pretty good. Not mind-glowingly revolutionary, not terrible, just good solid work that does the job. About 40% should be really good. And about 10% should shake the ground beneath your feet and make people breathe a little heavier when they see it. Find that one in 10 projects and you're golden.